Even though hospitals are caring for patients with COVID-19, clinicians want to reassure the public that individuals who need emergency care should not delay treatment.
“We are seeing a concerning drop in the number of people coming in for serious non-COVID-related issues,” said Dr. William Freudenthal, president of St. Vincent Emergency Physicians. “Staying home, ignoring the symptoms and suffering out of fear of COVID-19 is a risk people shouldn’t take with their health. Timely treatment is critically important for achieving the best outcomes and lessening the risk of complications. We are prepared and set up to safely treat patients who require emergency care. No patient should delay their care in an emergency.”
Ascension St. Vincent hospitals are equipped to safely protect patients from potential exposure to COVID-19 while taking care of their chest pain, stroke symptoms, traumatic injuries, emotional and mental health and any other acute medical or surgical needs. Separate intake and care areas, waiting room distancing, staff screening, ongoing use of personal protective equipment, as well as extensive safety and sanitization protocols, are in place to ensure all patients are cared for in a protected environment.
Medical professionals also encourage individuals who have pre-existing conditions to continue their routine care to stay healthy. Patients should call their primary care provider or specialist to discuss whether an online visit is a good option.
Anyone experiencing a life-threatening emergency, difficulty breathing or warning signs of a heart attack or stroke should go directly to the emergency room or dial 911.